The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has translated a 268-page book written by al-Qaida (PDF). The book, written in 2004 by a top al-Qaida insider, is called Management of Savagery. I think it's safe to assume we're the savages. It's a really interesting read. I think it's easier for us to think of al-Qaida operatives as idiots, or at best, misinformed. Well, turns out that's exactly what they think of us. And boy, they don't appreciate our media slogans.
"There is no doubt that the power which God gave to the two superpowers (America and Russia) was overwhelming in the estimation of humans… Yet all of that is not enough... Therefore, the two superpowers must resort to using a deceptive media halo which portrays these powers as non-coercive and world-encompassing, able to reach into every earth and heaven as if they possess the power of the Creator of creation.
"According to the media deception, it is an all-encompassing, overwhelming power and people are subservient to it not only through fear, but also through love because it spreads freedom, justice, equality among humanity, and various other slogans."
I find it fascinating how well they encapsulate the U.S. position. Anybody who may have thought maybe they just weren't hearing the message (I mean, who doesn't want freedom, justice, equality among humanity?) — well, they heard it. They're just not buying it. The book then goes on to say:
"When a state submits — whatever the extent of its ability — to the illusion of the deceptive power and behaves on this basis, that is when its downfall begins. It is just as the American author Paul Kennedy says: 'If America expands the use of its military power and strategically extends more than necessary, this will lead to its downfall.'"
Did some guy in al-Qaida really just quote American author Paul Kennedy in his terrorism treatise? Anyway, the book goes on to say that it's better to fight Americans abroad than to launch new attacks in the United States and it's better to aim for medium-sized operations, not a big one like Sept. 11.